Monday, July 01, 2019

Man on the Moon - the psychology of Apollo 11

My essay "Man on the Moon", about the psychology involved in landing the first people on the lunar surface 50 years ago this month, is published in the new issue of medical journal the Lancet Psychiatry.

You need to subscribe to read the whole thing, but here's the opening paragraph:
"In May 1960, Brooks Air Force Base in Texas (USA) hosted a symposium on psychophysiological aspects of space flight. The meeting aimed to present what was known about human behavioural capabilities in space and to recommend directions for further research. It was still relatively early days in the Space Race. The first human ventured into space the following April, and the first American human a month after that. Only then did the American president announce his ambitious plan to land people on the Moon and get them home safely by the end of the decade. But the delegates at the symposium looked boldly forward to the long-term conquest of space, even considering voyages lasting several thousand years..." ("Man on the Moon", Simon Guerrier, The Lancet Psychiatry, Vol. 6, No. 7, pp. 570–572. Published: July 2019.)
(I've another essay, "So What If It's All Green Cheese? The Moon on Screen", in the exhibition catalogue accompanying "The Moon" at Royal Museums Greenwich.)

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